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by Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. Frank's books and tapes have sold over a million copies. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Frank Scoblete Enterprises, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank's website is Befriend Frank on Facebook.

Wherefore the Closed Casinos?

The following are all true rumors except I have no idea if the contents of the rumors are actually true. So, yes, people are talking about the abandoned AC buildings but it is possible that nothing more than hot air is being expelled. Atlantic City has (sadly) become a town full of hot air.

On the southern end of the Boardwalk sits the vacated ACH (once the Golden Nugget; once the Grand; once Bally's Grand, once the Hilton, once the who-knows-what). This was a fine property and in its time was the premier one (long ago in the Steve Wynn days).

The biggest rumor is that Tropicana is going to open a new extension of their casino on the ACH property. This would give Trop a big boost as the Tropicana seems to be doing well in the shaky AC market.

The silly rumor is that the site will be demolished to build a public park. Come on! Don't the drug addicts in Atlantic City have better places to hang their needles?

The Trump Plaza, now known forevermore as the "Trump Dump," has only one rumor circulating about it. The rumor is that no one wants to buy the fetid place and thus the Trump Dump seems to be joining the old Playboy Casino which lingers as a huge concrete construction right next to the dump --- in fact, it looks like the Trump dump next to the Playboy dump are an ugly couple locked together for the foreseeable future.

The Claridge? Who knows if the new owners can make a go of a low-cost hotel-only property on the site? Mind you, the Claridge is a protected, historical site, probably because I was conceived there and many decades later met the Captain there --- so, of course, it should be a protected historical site.

The empty lot that had been the Sands is said to be another area thought to make a good park. Listen, Atlantic City has the most beautiful beaches, so what's with all these rumors about making this, that or the other site a park?

Whew! Showboat is not going to become a college as was originally planned. After much thought and consideration, the honchos of education finally (eureka!) discovered that it might not be such a hot idea to put a school next to a bunch of casinos. So now, the talk is that Showboat is going to reopen strictly as a slot palace --- saving much money on employee salaries. The rooms will be really, really cheap too.

And Revel, that billion-dollar monstrosity at the northern end of the Boardwalk, is now floating with the idea that it would make great housing for the homeless. The idea is that all those rooms in this titanic beast would make wonderful resting places for people who prefer not to work too hard or at all. That makes sense since Revel didn't want to work and, as we all know, it didn't work.

As I said, I don't know if any of these rumors being whispered about have any validity but rumor mongering is the new game in AC these days. After all, who wants to look at the performance sheets of the remaining properties when you can think about the homeless having a revel in Revel?

Free! Free! Free!

I am leaving the book-selling business. My wife and I are doing a lot of traveling, around America, around the world; catching up on the things we've missed because I've spent so much time in casinos for over a quarter century, often 130 days a year. I have books stocked in my warehouse. The following are available for free. (This is while supplies last.) Just send me an email to with your address or contact me through Facebook. (If you have already received free books please let me know so I do not send the same surprise to you.)

The Virgin Kiss

Confessions of a Wayward Catholic

Casino Ratings

It is always best to check out the games for yourselves. Time of day, type of dealer, table minimum, and number of decks can influence the most important ingredients in a good game for a card counter --- penetration. The second most important things are the rules. Most Atlantic City casinos allow doubling on the first two cards, splitting of pairs (once or twice), doubling after splits, three-to-two payouts on blackjacks (except those awful one-deck games). Sadly most of the casinos are hitting soft 17, except in the high roller rooms. For non-card counters you want shallow penetration and good rules and a full table!

Our reporters have somewhat different takes on the various (remaining) casinos. Again it is always best to do a quick tour of the one(s) you plan to play at.

Rating System:

Four stars: * * * * = superior game

Three stars: * * * = worth playing

Two stars: * * = look elsewhere

One star: * = seriously don't you have something better to do?

No stars: 0 = are you that hungry to lose your money?

BALLY'S: The slimy ones from the abandoned Trump Plaza have slithered into Bally's. Seriously, when last I walked through the place with my fellow columnist Jerry "Stickman," it was like being transported into an episode of "The Wire." As for blackjack: Eight decks in the main casino, hitting on S17, typical rules. Penetration about 75 percent; sometimes as high as 80 percent. High roller room has six-deckers, about 80 percent penetration. Casino has been redesigned and looks good. Hotel rooms still need renovations. Excellent craps tables. As I said, be aware that the riff-raff from the decayed Trump Plaza have made their way to Bally's. Not a good sign. Can't people launder their drug money somewhere else? Rating: * * *

BORGATA: Still the "in" place too. Young sexy folks abound. If all the casinos collapse this place will probably keep chugging along. Decent games. Eight decks on main floor with some hitting soft 17 and some standing on soft 17. Good penetration (about 80 percent) and some six-deckers throughout the place. Crummy craps tables. Ringling Brothers could use them for trampolines. Rating: * * *

CAESARS: Yes, the rumor is still making the rounds that this property is hanging by a sandal strap. That would be bad. It is a lovely casino and a good hotel. Blackjack is fine with eight deckers in main casino, hitting on soft 17; penetration of about 70-75 percent. Rating: * * *

GOLDEN NUGGET: It has survived a very tough time for Atlantic City and is beginning to bring in the bucks. Blackjack games are so-so in main casino, eight decks with hitting on soft 17. Penetration about 75 percent at most. High roller room has six-deckers with penetration of 75-80 percent but some of the bosses are scaredy-cats. Great craps games. Great crews. Renovated hotel rooms are lovely. Rating: * * *

HARRAH'S: A slot palace but the blackjack games are far better now than during my last visit. Eight deck games with hitting of soft 17 throughout. Penetration of 70 percent - which is great for this place. Rating: * *

RESORTS: And the first might wind up being the last or, at least, one of the last. Resorts has had decent crowds every time I've been in the place. Blackjack games are decent too; 70-75 percent penetration, eight decks with hitting soft 17. Rating: * * *

TAJ MAHAL: Hanging by a whisker. Main floor eight-deck blackjack goes from good games with 80 percent penetration to poor games with 65 percent penetration. It all depends on the dealer and the floor person working a particular pit. All games hit soft 17. High roller room gets some good action. They stand on soft 17. About 75-80 percent penetration in high roller room. Rating: * * *

TROPICANA: The Trop is gunning for big play. There are huge Asian crowds with more Asian games than I've seen elsewhere. It is a strong casino with plenty of good games. Eight deckers in main casino hitting soft 17, with 75-80 percent penetration. High roller room has six-deckers with 80 percent penetration, sometimes even better. Rating: * * *



Our Readers Report

If you wish to contribute your reports or observations, I need to receive them by the 18th of the month for the next month. Write to:

We have many readers who send us their reports on various aspects of Atlantic City and we do have some that give us reports just about every month - so we have decided to give them the fame and glory (as opposed to "fortune and glory") of their own columns

You will note that our correspondents tend to have somewhat different views. Always it is up to you to decide which games you want to play by scouting them for yourselves.


Hi Frank:

I think you should really concentrate on Atlantic City being a basic strategy player's dream. The tables are often full; the cuts are shallow. The games often grind to a halt because the players make their decisions slowly. All of these things, as you have written, are good for the basic strategy player. As for card counters? Atlantic City's best days are long behind it. Blackjack is just about dead for advantage players in Atlantic City.



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